Let us start off by saying that there are many places in our country that are very under-rated when it comes to tourism because of other more famous locations. Udupi is that one place the defines it to the tee, according to us, its one of the top three most under-rated tourist destinations of our country!
Beaches – CHECK, Food – Double f*cking Check, Alcohol – Cheaper than Goa, Clean and Green – TICK, Accessibility – Thumbs Up. So if Kutchh gave us a cultural and traditional shock (in a good way) Udupi blew our balls off when it came to Food, Booze and Beaches!
How, Where and Why?!?!
Udupi from Mumbai is just an over night train ride away, stopping at Goa and passing through the many Western Ghat tunnels. Its one of the most scenic train journeys and the Fish fry at Madgoan Station is divine!! As my train reached Goa at 6 am, the Fish fry guys hadn’t opened their stalls.
After 4 hours, we stopped at Udupi and that’s when you’ll see a load of college students offloading as the University city of Manipal is just 30 minutes away. A short 10 minutes rickshaw ride (pre-paid available at the station) is the main city of Udupi. Our hotel was Hotel Udupi Residency a short 5 minute walk from the Krishna Mutth and the bus depot, other places to stay are the Kediyoor Hotel and Udupi Beach hotel at Malpe Beach.
Things to Do and Places to Eat:
Now since Udupi is situated so perfectly, its only three and half hours away from Gokarna, six hours from Goa, one and a half hours from Mangalore and four and a half hours from Coorg. If you’re planning to stay only in Udupi, these are the places worth checking out:
A short bus ride from the hotel, (Udupi is very well connected via Local transport) Malpe is the main beach of Udupi. Loads of locals, sporting activity, street snacks, Fish Fry joints and a relatively clean beach.
We had one of the best fish fry meals on this beach at Chandresh Fish Fry joint. Fresh Snapper Tawa fry, just caught in the morning served with rice and Fish curry. A must stop when at this beach (JUST LOOK AT THE F*CKING PICTURE) Total cost only 290 rupees. Also avaiable at the various stalls is something called a Goli Baje, its a flour (maida) based dough with spices and deep fried served with coconut chutney.
St. Mary’s Island:
A short ride from Malpe beach or from the Jetty, is an Island called St. Mary’s Island or as we would like to call it “Holy F*cking Moly this is not India” Island. It was apprently the first place where Vasco Da Gama halted and then continued further down to Calicut. With jutting Basalt rocks, this is where India broke off from Madagascar (Africa) and travelled east to where it sits now.
The population is zero as no one is allowed to stay here, they are very particular about the littering and carrying of outside food. Also swimming on the rocky/ shell filled side of the island is prohibited. Still one can enjoy the scenic beauty that is St Mary’s Island. The ferry stays on for an hour and will then take you back, one thing you need to know is that until the ferry doesn’t have 30 people on board they wont leave the Jetty or Malpe Beach.
About 30 minutes bus ride on NH – 66 is Kaup (Kapu) Beach. Since its a little far off from the city, it has a fewer number of locals thus making it as good as a private beach!!! It was formerly a nude beach till the 70’s and that’s why you still see a good number of foreigners here.
There’s also the famous Kapu Lighthouse that opens everyday at 4.30 pm for the public offering breathtaking views of the beach and nearby scenery. Near the beach there’s a small place called Samudra bar and restaurant. Stretched over two floors, the ground floor is where the locals sit and on the first is meant for the tourists. Great and spicy Prawn Masala and Parota served with a chilled beer. Total cost only 240 Rupees.
Now the main reason alot of tourist come to Udupi is because of the Holy Krishna Mutt situated in the Heart of the city. People from across the world come here to visit the eight Mutts that surround the main 800 yr old temple. Every night (except rainy season) at about 7 pm, there are Raths(chariots) that take a complete circle around the Mutts, decorated with flowers and lights.
These Raths are hand pulled by the devotees and has to be one of the most spiritual things done by us! Everyone was chanting Krishna hymns, there were fireworks and the whole atmosphere was charged with positive energies! As this works up quite the appetite, on the temple premises is Mitra Samaj a small joint serving fresh Dosas and Idly or one can walk a few 100 mts away and go to the famous Woodlands restaurant.
A student city, Manipal is about 20 minutes from main Udupi city. Greenery is the name of the game here, and End point is where one can see it at its best!! A cliff over looking the Swarna River, its where the locals as well as the students come out to chill, enjoy the view and maybe have a joint or two.
If you’re up for surfing go to the Shaka Surf Club at Kodi Bengre Beach which is about 30 minutes from main Udupi (just a bus ride away) They have accommodation, surf lessons and even rent out surf boards for those who already know surfing.
Try put different hotels and their restaurants, Udupi Residency (where we were) has an amazing restaurant and bar and so does the famous Kediyoor (Although we preferred URH.) If you know any local then make sure you go to their houses and eat an authentic meal. Both vegetarian and meat options are vast and tasty AF!!!
Even though Udupi isn’t as party friendly as Goa, its not as young as hip as Mangalore and may notbe as calm and quiet as Gokarna, but we really think its in a class of its own. The food is better here, Boozeis cheaper (so are hotel rooms) and the beaches ofcourse kick-*ss. So bombayFoodiesif there’s any place that we’ve missed out on or places we should include and check out do let us know in the comment below. Hope you’ll can visit these places as soon as possible!!!